Rorate Caeli

Card. Brandmüller: Nostra aetate and Dignitatis humanae non-binding

Yesterday, a new book authored by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller (Emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences), Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, and Mons. Nicola Bux was presented to the media in the studios of Radio Vaticana: “Le ‘chiavi’ di Benedetto XVI per interpretare il Vaticano II” (The keys of Benedict XVI for the interpretation of Vatican II, Cantagalli, Siena). 

In an interview to Radio Vaticana, Abp. Marchetto answered several questions, including the following: 
 Q. – Let us return to the hermeneutic of discontinuity, of rupture, and the hermeneutic of reform: which one prevails today within the Church?

A. – Unfortunately, I must say, the one of rupture prevails. I would rather add that it is acknowledged today that not only the extreme fringe - of what was the majority in the Council -, but also the Traditionalist movements say the same thing. For them also there was a rupture. Therefore, there is still much work to be done. 
Catholic News Service recorded some interesting words by Card. Brandmüller, who was also present:

 In the book, Cardinal Brandmuller said the SSPX and the Old Catholics who rejected the papal infallibility teaching of the First Vatican Council "have in common a rejection of the legitimate developments of the doctrine and life of the church." While the cardinal described the Old Catholics as having an "insignificant role" in global Christianity today, he said the vitality of the SSPX forces the church "to demonstrate that their protests are unjustified. One can only hope this will happen." Asked about the passage in the book, Cardinal Brandmuller told reporters, "We hope that the Holy Father's attempt to reunify the church succeeds." ...

"There is a huge difference between a great constitution," like the Vatican II constitutions on the church, the liturgy and divine revelation, "and simple declarations," like the Vatican II declarations on Christian education and the mass media. "Strangely enough, the two most controversial documents" for the SSPX -- those on religious freedom  [Dignitatis humanae] and on relations with non-Christians [Nostra aetate] -- "do not have a binding doctrinal content, so one can dialogue about them," the cardinal said. "So I don't understand why our friends in the Society of St. Pius X concentrate almost exclusively on these two texts. And I'm sorry that they do so, because these are the two that are most easy to accept if we consider their canonical nature" as non-binding, he said.

[Rorate note: Traditional Catholics say there was a rupture because there actually was a rupture - from the writing style to the ambiguous content of the texts, Vatican II was a rupture-event. And those most close to it interpreted it thus, if not in theory, at least in practice: the new mass and rites of sacraments were a practical interpretive rupture that went much further than the great inflection signaled by the Constitution on the Liturgy, but nonetheless an interpretation grounded on several minor aspects of the actual text and made by and under the name of the great guarantor of the Council, Paul VI. Now then, an attempt to interpret the whole of the Council according to a view of "reform in continuity" is laudable, but those, even sincere outsiders, who see this interpretive attempt as a kind of constrained intellectual exercise are not necessarily mistaken.] 


  1. The eminent Gherardini says portions even lean towards modernism (source).

  2. Peterman12:07 PM

    Curious timing to release this but the gripes and whines of the modernists don't carry the weight they once did.

    "So I don't understand why our friends in the Society of St. Pius X concentrate almost exclusively on these two texts."

    Obviously that bothers the Cardinal and also that the SSPX has NOT become irrelevant like the Old Catholics but rather has grown larger and larger and more influential. As Father Malachi Martin described the SSPX "a bone lodged in the throat of The Church that they can't swallow and they can't cough up."

  3. We know there was a rupture because it looks like one. They can invent all the hermeneutics they want but a rupture is a rupture is a rupture.
    Liberal modernists hate plain-speak because it clarifies and makes matters understandable. Therefore, liturgically, applying all the necessary tests for the Roman Catholic Mass demonstrates plainly that one form (and rite)is truly and authetically of the Sacred Tradition while the other is a fabricated, non-organic modernist imposition with protestant overtones. Pastorally, the modern church is an apologetic and chaotic mess while its pre-conciliar counterpart was a united whole militantly spreading The Gospel according to divine mandate ("robust" as Pope John XXIII stated). Other tests are collegiality against hierarchy; endless ecumenical and interreligious activity against the insistent belief that there is only one faith, one Lord and one baptism - outside the church there is no salvation; primacy of conscience has replaced primacy of The Faith. There is a long list of which these are representative of the rupture we can see with our own eyes and comprehend with our own intelligence.
    There is no hermeneutic of continuity because the tests reveal rupture. This rupture has provoked a massive crisis which at last many in the church are beginning to admit. There has never ever been a "springtime" since 1965 or 1969. It has been as Pope paul VI claimed - an auto-demolition with Satan in the sanctuary. Of course, in far too many cases, the red lamp is no longer there neither is the House of God.

  4. Anonymous12:30 PM

    For many years now priests and others have attempted always to prove their Church "street cred" by referring back to the documents of the Council, as if someone is looking over their shoulder at all times and requiring that they do so to prove their loyalty to the "company program". I have never felt so free as a priest now that I no longer use the Council as a wall in the past the immense and beckoning vista beyond which I cannot see.

  5. Hugh, very well said. In our culture, where the gravest sin is to offend someone, you make some great points.

    There are dark things, deep-down, which the eyes can't always see.

    The over-exuberance of Vatican II and the fabricated mass did do this: it helped us appreciate the mass for which the Cathedral builders "on the great plain" in the words of, ironically, Ingmar Bergman, spent themselves, sometimes for centuries, building.

    Only to have Paul VI impose a banal liturgy into those venerable structures.

  6. viva il papa1:38 PM

    haha, old catholics? was that an attempt at an insult? the old catholics are nuts.

  7. With all due respect to His Eminence, it seems to me that these two documents are rarely treated as non-binding.

  8. NIANTIC1:45 PM

    Thank you Hugh (at 12:26) I second your comments.
    To me Paul V was a real tragic figure totally imbued with Modernism and a sort of totalitarism. Already prior to his pontificate he championed and supported whole heartedly the Modernist movement and its theology, imposed forcefully a protestant type mass on the Church and so on and on.
    Then, when the fruits of his efforts are shown to be an unmitigated disaster he complains about Satan's smoke infiltrating the Church.
    Let us hope that we will see more serious discussions about this great rupture which was imposed upon all of us. At some point a Papal pronouncement will be necessary to clarify Truth from Error.

  9. Joseph the sacristan2:00 PM

    I am dumfonded that a prince of the church could write a book and state that the SSPX holds and teaches the same views as old catholics on the teaching of Papal

    I am sorry to say that the good cardinal does not have his facts right.

    With prayers,

  10. No, he did not say that, Joseph the Sacristan. He said that, in his view, both groups "have in common a rejection of the legitimate developments of the doctrine and life of the church."

  11. Anonymous2:08 PM

    "Strangely enough, the two most controversial documents" for the SSPX -- those on religious freedom [Dignitatis humanae] and on relations with non-Christians [Nostra aetate] -- "do not have a binding doctrinal content, so one can dialogue about them," the cardinal said. "So I don't understand why our friends in the Society of St. Pius X concentrate almost exclusively on these two texts. And I'm sorry that they do so, because these are the two that are most easy to accept if we consider their canonical nature" as non-binding, he said.

    I do not understand the reasoning being employed here. If something is "non-binding," why must it be accepted at all?

    Can someone clarify this?

    - DJR

  12. Joseph the sacristan2:18 PM

    New Catholic,

    Thank you for the clarification.


  13. WRT Card. Brandmüller's comment, unfortunately its not that simple.

    One can criticize Nostra aetate and Dignitatis humanae as being ambiguous and easy to be abused or a disastrous change in policy akin to taking a sleeping pill, leaving the doors open, and putting up a sign "the owner is asleep surrounded by his treasures" in a high crime neighbourhood. I personally don't read these documents that way, but I understand how some could. As Card. Brandmüller states, they are not

    However, if one calls these documents heretical, there is an issue, since it says that the Magisterium can declare error as truth. If that's true, Catholicism is a sham and our only hope is to become Eastern Orthodox.

    WRT Rorate note, one must distinguish between the occasion of sin and the cause of sin and the act of sin. Even whole hearted pious devotions can an occasion of sin.

    Even if there were no Vatican II, there were already issues in the Church. Seriously, Humanae Vitae should have been a complete non-event. Notra Dame an other CINO institutions and theologians were already beginning to revolt, as were feminist nuns. All that was needed as a spark. If VII didn't exist, it would be Humanae Vitae, or something else, or worse a slow acceptance of the rot of modernism as truth (Dutch Catechism, the Magisterium of Nuns and Theologians versus the "policies of bigoted dinosaur bishops").

    To me, VII was good. Not only did it encourage lay involvement so that sites like this one and Real Catholic TV can be rallying points against modernism, it also flushed out the modernist and made it blatantly clear to fence sitting Catholics who just want to go with the flow that modernism has failed and that acedia is a deadly sin for both the individual and the Church.

  14. @ DJR I do not understand the reasoning being employed here. If something is "non-binding," why must it be accepted at all?

    Lol, good point!

    If you look at the 1992 Catechism, which has an Imprimatur, btw, you will see doctrines that a Catholic can reject, and still be saved. It is only heresy to reject dogma. Thus, the Feenyite Benedictines in New Hampshire reject the Church's understanding of EENS, because it is not a dogma, and that, alone, should exclude someone from the Church.

    So, too, FSSPX rejects some of the doctrines of Vatican II. And that, too, shouldn't exclude them from a more regular integration into Christ's Church.

    And, in fact, Saints have been wrong about doctrines that became dogmas.

    Our Holy Father knows all this, of course, but he is an elderly man fighting wolves. Pray everyday for him!

  15. semper idem2:52 PM

    "The keys of Benedict XVI for the interpretation of Vatican II" -

    Is it not strange that we need special keys to understand these texts and that we are given them only now, 50 years after Vatican II? Also, with all due respect, the keys given by our Holy Father still leave open a lot of interpretational leeway. You cannot really take several hundred pages of text and say that they should be read in an hermeneutic of reform. What does this concretely mean for a single sentence? This is just too vague.

    PS: I am a tax lawyer and thus have a professional interest in the interpretation of complicated texts.

  16. Picard3:15 PM

    Anil Wang:

    No, the magisterium can not err only if it speaks infallibly.
    If it speaks non-infallibly then - as "non-infallibly" indicates - it can fail, it can err on matters of faith and moral.

    And especially, if it expresses itselfe on a very low level, like a "decleration".

    I would not say that such a decleration is not binding at all - but at least such a low-level expression of the magisterium can entail error (also re faith and morals)

    And if Car. Brandm. were right, then it would be not binding at all and then of course it can entail some heresy!

  17. @ semper,

    Good point. Our Holy Father has been given the keys, but what does that mean, practically?

    Aren't our popes, historically (and this is not in any way to castigate our current Pope, who I deeply respect), been given the keys to uphold what came before them?

    Can an intelligent man say that the Popes after Vatican II really did that?

  18. I find their use of the Keys of the Kingdom given to Peter to preserve and transmit what was instructed by Jesus, to justify themselves in their errors, to be both blaphemous and vulgar.

    I hope they choke on that SSPX bone.

  19. Picard3:33 PM

    Re the Brandmüller-remarks:

    1. The comparison between the sspx and the Old catholics is ridiculous, absurd and, btw., insulting.

    2. C. Brandm is inconsisten:
    If he remarks (and wonders about) that the sspx contraditcts mainly the two declerations that according to himslefe are NOT-BINDING, then how can he compare the sspx to the Old cath., that reject an absolute BINDING doctrine, an infallibly proclaimed doctrine?!

    3. That the declerations are not binding at all and even not at all doctrinal is also absurd and/or simply false (at least re the doctrinal status).

    But right, it is a very low-level utterance of the magisterium and therefore surely not inafillible and can be critisized. It can entail error, heresy. So he is at least right: "declerations" are not strictly, strongly binding.

    4. But that was always the position of the sspx: that DH and NA are only declerations, of a pastoral Council, so they are not infallible and can entail some error. There is no assurance that in a simple decleration of a pastoral Council there will be no error.

  20. Anonymous3:40 PM

    I would ask His Eminence, if it is true that
    a) The SSPX is observing Catholicism as it was practiced until Vatican II


    b) If the Second Vatican Council was not a rupture with Tradition

    Where lies the problem?


  21. Alsaticus3:54 PM

    semper idem said...

    "The keys of Benedict XVI for the interpretation of Vatican II" -

    Is it not strange that we need special keys to understand these texts and that we are given them only now, 50 years after Vatican II? Also, with all due respect, the keys given by our Holy Father still leave open a lot of interpretational leeway.

    1) No it is not strange that conciliar documents are in need of interpretation. It is customary all along Church history. Sometimes conflicts of interpretation have given birth to schism for ex. as early as the Chalcedon council 370 A.C. ; the strife around Trent definition of grace stretched over 200 years and more.

    2) From Paul VI to Benedict XVI, numerous documents of various degrees have provided clarifications and restricted the margin of interpretation : for ex. the condemnations of Schillebeeckx's positions, Apostolos suos 1998 for collegiality, Dominus Iesus for Nostra Aetate etc.
    John Paul II has also given numerous precisions on the correct way to read and implement Dignitatis humanae (religious freedom and relationship Church/State).

    3) There are still several "leeways" indeed but moreover blatant disobedience and heretical interpretations left free of sanction.
    The "hermeneutic of reform within continuity" is not in itself a practical rule but more a general philosophy, a mind frame to produce rules of interpretation.

    So yes there are a few loopholes or "leeways", the 5% Bp Fellay often talked about, but the papal magisterium has been working to reduce these limited leeways. The papal government on the other has let open dissent within the full communion develop and flourish without incurring any sanction or with a mild blame ; even worse open dissenters have been called to the episcopal College, favored for the Curia or approved as superiors general of big orders.

    In short too often actions/appointments are not backing this hermeneutic of reform but promoting those in favor of the hermeneutic of rupture.

  22. P Chabot4:22 PM

    @Anil Wang
    "if one calls these documents heretical, there is an issue, since it says that the Magisterium can declare error as truth. If that's true, Catholicism is a sham and our only hope is to become Eastern Orthodox."

    Your understanding of the Magisterium is modernistic. The Magisterim is ALWAYS infallible. Vatican I defined the conditions under which we can be sure the Solemn Magisterium is invoked and there the power of infallibility engaged. When the pope teaches in the normal fufilment of his duties and those four conditions are not met, it is NOT the Solemn Magisterium and their is no guarantee of infalibility. Neither can one call it Ordinary Magisterium. It is the heresy of this generation to associate Magisterium with a person or group of persons or a council. Magisterium is a divine authority. The Ordinary Magisterium, which is equally infallible, is engaged when the Pope or bishops teach in union with each other and in constant union with their predecessors what has always been held by the Church. We can recognize the Ordinary Magisterium by coherency and agreement from generation to generation and from century to century. It is only when by sin, lack of discipline, and heresy confusion enters and creates a doubt as to what is genuinely part of the Ordinary Magisterium. When that happens the Pope has the authority and duty to engage the Solemn Magisterium and declare definitively the doctrine under confusion is part of the deposit of Faith.

    The modern phrase "magisterium of Pope ____" should not be confused with the Solemn or Ordinary Magisterium. A pope's encyclical, constitution, allocution, or random document is not of the Magisterium simply because he put his signature on it. It is of the Ordinary Magisterium when he is reiterating and reminding us of the constant teaaching of the predecessors. It is of the Solemn Magisterium when he fulfills the four requirements defined by Pope Pius IX.

    Vatican II never fulfilled the four requirements of infallibility and was expressly declared to not be infallible. Hence it can only be infallible inasmuch as it repeats and reiterates the constant teaching of the popes through other infallible declarations. As such it really has no more authority than a homily from the Pope. It is only true where the Church has previously declared it to be true.

    Card. B's comment about the SSPX was a blatant lie. The SSPX have never denied the papal infalibility as defined by Pius IX. They deny the modernist teaching that the pope can teach no error.

    If one accepts the concept that Vatican II somehow needs to be interpreted, they are already denying that such a council every had any Magisterial authority. The purpose of a council it to define dogma and condemn error in the face of apparent confusion so that the bishops and faithful know what the Church teaches. To suggest that interpretation is necessary and that it is only by constant study of the council texts that we can know what it really meant to teach is to concede that it was not a real council after all. One can not argue that the council most obviously and intentionally failed to condemn the most pernicious error of its time--communism.

  23. P Chabot4:23 PM

    @Knight of Malta
    An "Imprimatur" is by no means a guarantee of veracity. A heretical and slovenly bishop can grant and Imprimatur for anything. Pius X admonished bishops to be more cautious in granting permissions in "Paschendi". I think the YouCat had an imprimatur as well when amongst other errors it implicitly taught that masturbation was not a sin.

    One can not knowingly reject an single doctrine of the Catholic Church without losing their divine Faith and falling into heresy. Fr. Feeney did not reject a single doctrine that the Catholic Church teaches. Whether it is well known or not, his book Bread of Life was reviewed by the Holy Office and found free from error.

    Likewise, the SSPX has not rejected an single doctrine that the Catholic Church teaches. They maintain, like all rational Catholics, that Vatican II did not faithful reiterate the constant teaching of the Church and that where it delved into innovation, it has no more authority than a dime store novel.

  24. Vatican II's documents are not entirely infallible because each one "ha evitato di pronunciare in modo straordinario dogmi dotati della nota di infallibilità [avoided pronouncing in an extraordinary way (new) dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility]" (Pope Paul VI audience, 12 January 1966) and "In view of conciliar practice and the pastoral purpose of the present Council, this sacred Synod defines matters of faith or morals as binding on the Church only when the Synod itself openly declares so," which it never did (Council's General Secretary, 16 November 1964), so I don't know how Card. Brandmüller can classify only Nostra Ætate and Dignitatis Humanæ as "simple declarations" and the others as "great constitution[s]", when even these latter non-binding parts.

    It sounds like the bishops against bishops prediction of Our Lady of Akita will be fulfilled…

  25. Anonymous4:30 PM

    Most Council's had lots of pastoral opinions of how to act during that era so what is different now. The Popes have stated that it was strictly a pastoral council so it's obvious it's non-binding. The difference between this Council and one's of the past is that the modernist's agreed to these new pastoral ideas ,knowing that they would them turn them into super-dogma's at least in the mind of the everyday Catholic who has no idea of the difference between pastoral teaching's and dogmatic teaching's.The average pew sitter knew that what Council's taught was dogmatic (at least that was what they thought) so the modernist's used this ignorance of discerning church pronouncement's to succeed brillantly in spreading their poison. The Pope's were not vigilant in protecting the average laymen from this scheme and let false teachers spread error even though officially they were orthodox. So now the SSPX is trying to get the Pope to teach Catholic's the difference between pastoral and dogmatic statement's.

  26. Francis5:06 PM

    Most trads, myself included, never thought that those two documents were binding anyway because they not only go against Holy Scripture but two-thousand years of de-fide dogma. It's good though that a high ranking Cardinal like Brandmüller is stating the obvious. The modernists, while still powerful and influential are on their heels.

  27. P.K.T.P.5:16 PM

    I would like to know how the good Cardinal came to conclude that a title on a document confers on its entire content any particular degree of authority. Michael Davies demonstrated in one of his books that even an apostolic constitution can include in it passages which are not even doctrinal in character. If we are to say that nothing new in Vatican II is infallible, and that the degree to which its parts impose a submission of mind and will varies in accordance with the criteria of theological interpretation, why, after forty years, has nobody in authority in the Holy See (e.g. P.C.L.T.) explained in detail the authority imposed by the controverted passages? All we get is this insistence that we must accept all of Vatican II.

    Also, I'd like to know how submission of mind and will can come in different degrees--in different flavours, if you will. For example, in one case, one might be free to withhold assent but not be free to dissent (i.e. one might be free only to hold a neutral view on a doctrine). In another, one might be free to dissent but not to express that dissent publicly. In yet another, one might be free to dissent but not to dissent in a challenging way or in a disrespectful way or polemically. This all becomes a jumble. How many degrees are there, and which apply to the controverted passages?

    It is all right to have these varying degrees of submission of mind and will when analysing non-controversial teachings, for then the matter is mostly academic: nobody's faith depends on it. For example, one can adhere to certain beliefs which are not Church teachings but are not forbidden by the Church either. We can wonder about the devil's specific motivations in rebelling from God.

    The difference in the case of Vatican II is that an œcumenical council has proclaimed teachings which seem to be at variance with earlier teachings. It is this characteristic of 'apparent contradiction' that has caused confusion and disturbance, and the fact that the Holy See has, after forty years, made few attempts to resolve these apparent contradictions (Benedict XVI has made some limited clarifications on the 'subsists in' phrase). The solution, then, would be to establish an ongoing inquiry in which the S.S.P.X works with the Holy See to resolve these problems one by one.


  28. P.K.T.P.5:19 PM

    I'd also like to know how we can be required to any degree to submit mind and will to teachings that Cardinal Brandmüller calls "non-binding"? By non-binding, does he mean that we are free to dissent from them? Is the submission owing to them only to show proper respect to the authority which declared and ratified D.H. and N. Æ.?


  29. P Chabot,

    Very good comments; you and I basically see eye-to-eye.

    Maybe we have a cognitive dissonance vis-a-vis doctrine v. dogma. One should err towards the Church on the former, and to deny any point on the latter is heresy, and casts one outside the Church (which means 99% of "Catholics" out there are heretics, actually, and not really Catholic).

    Fr. Feeney denied the current curial belief in the phantasmagorical pseudo-sacrament of baptism by belief (and the book you sited, btw., was published one year before his "excommunication" without representation or appeal--speaking of pseudo-sacraments: why not a eucharist by "belief"? Geesh, talk about sophistry!). Likewise Archbishop Lefebvre cried foul that there is such a thing as "religious liberty" (a Masonic notion--look it up). So, some current Church doctrines are up to interpretation. But, I agree that we must be careful, and err on the side of the Church. But even St. Thomas Aquinas teaches against the Immaculate Conception in his Summa

  30. I'll read in to His Eminence's comments positvely...

    If the DH and NA are non-binding = free to discuss = what's the hold up from establishing proper canonical set up...too many times we try to read negatively into things.

  31. I think most read this positively, Joe Potillor.

  32. As a side-note Feeney's, Mother Seton: An American Woman is among the top five most brilliant reads I've read, in my opinion, and I have an English degree from one of the top-five colleges in the US for English degrees (and I mention that only to promote this great woman, and largely neglected saint).

    Did you know that Father Feeney was actually Literary Editor of America magazine for some time, and it was Cardinal Dulles who came to his defense!

    It's good to have a diversity of friends. I have a Muslim friend, my entire family is protestant, and my other friends are a rag-tag motley crew of differing faiths. I even have a gay friend who fly 2,000 miles to help me if I was in dire-straights.

    My point being, Father Feeney was strong in his faith, and didn't diverge from it, but, like Jesus, let the publicans, the tax-collectors, etc., so to speak, come to his lectures, and thereby won hearts. And that is what Jesus did.

    Fr. Feeney was one of the brightest modern souls to walk this earth.

  33. I think it interesting to note that Cardinal Koch, just last week, said the exact opposite - Nostra Aetate must be accepted!

    Bishop Fellay has noted that, when it comes to the Council, it very much depends on who one is speaking with. Has that ever been, in the Church, before, that a Council was so widely disagreed upon regarding what it says, and how it is to be accepted? Has there beena like situation, ever? Maybe before Calcedon?

  34. Anonymous priest at 12:30, God bless you!

  35. Kevin B.7:35 PM

    I've always thought that the Holy Father's epochal speech about the competing hermeneutics was a tacit admission that the documents of Vatican II are ambiguous. Vatican I, Trent, and all of the preceding councils spoke in a way that provided little leeway: "The Holy Catholic Church teaches X, and whosever believes not-X, anathema sit." Those who dissented either left the Church on their own accord, or were shown the door via excommunication.

    Vatican II, in contrast, made it a point to not speak that way. As the late, great John Senior said "If Rembert Weakland can be judged to be inside the Church, than no one can be said to be outside of it." In a way I can understand why the aging Spirit of Vatican II crowd is always rending its garments in fury over the incremental recovery of Church discipline. They've been allowed to run free for so long after all.

  36. I am having trouble understanding many of the comments here today.

    It seems clear that the headline here is that a Catholic Cardinal is arguing that a Catholic in good standing (i.e, the SSPX in let's say a theological preamble) would be on sound theological ground in regarding (at least) two of the most troubling documents of Vatican II to be non-binding for Catholics.

  37. Picard11:52 PM

    P Chabot, Alan Aversa:

    Excellent points, thank you!

    Only one remark, P Chabot:

    Card. B. did not say that the sspx rejects the Pope or Primacy - as NC also remarked 22 May, 2012 14:03 and corrected Joseph.

    But the rest, as I said: Excellent!

  38. Prof. Basto3:48 AM

    So, basically, the good Cardinal is saying that, because they are neither Constitutions nor Decrees, the Declarations of the Second Vatican Council carry the same weight as the acclamations recorded in the Acts of the Council of Trent at the end of that Council?

    To those who do not know what acclamations I'm talking about, here they are:

    The Cardinal of Lorraine. To the most blessed Pius, Pope, and our lord, pontiff of the holy and universal Church, many years and eternal memory.

    Answer of the Fathers. O Lord God, do Thou very long preserve the most holy Father to thy church: for many years.

    The Cardinal. To the souls of the most blessed Soveriegn Pontiffs, Paul III., and Julius III., by whose authority this sacred general Council was begun, peace from the Lord, and eternal glory, and happiness in the light of the saints.

    Answer. Be their memory in benediction.

    The Cardinal. Of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, and of the most serene kings, who have promoted and protected this universal Council, be the memory in benediction.

    Answer. Amen, Amen.

    The Cardinal. To the most serene Emperor Ferdinand, ever august, orthodox, and pacific, and to all our kings, republics, and princes, many years.

    Answer. Preserve, O Lord, the pious and Christian emperor: Oh, Heavenly Emperor, protect earthly kings, the preservers of the right faith.

    The Cardinal. To the Legates of the Apostolic Roman See, and presidents of this Synod, many thanks and many years.

    Answer. Many thanks: the Lord reward them.

    The Cardinal. To the most reverend cardinals, and most illustrious ambassadors.

    Answer. Many thanks; many years.

    The Cardinal. To the most holy bishops, life, and a happy return to their own churches.

    Answer. To the heralds of truth perpetual memory; to the orthodox senate many years.

    The Cardinal. The sacred and holy oecumenical Synod of Trent: let us confess the faith thereof; let us ever keep the decrees thereof.

    Answer. Ever let us confess, ever keep.

    The point being: as a mere declaration, it would differ from the constitutions in that the Constitutions are binding magisterial documents and the declarations are just statements of the conciliar assembly without the binding force of the magisterium. Is that it?

    Well, if that's it then the Church should have no problem discarding the statement and proclaiming only its binding doctrine, namely, the preconciliar one.

  39. Confused11:36 AM

    "All the doctrinal decisions of the church are binding on a Catholic, including the Second Vatican Council and all its texts," Cardinal Koch said when asked if the SSPX would be expected to accept all the teachings of Vatican II. "The 'Nostra Aetate' declaration of the Second Vatican Council is a clear decree and is important for every Catholic," he added.

    That was stated only a week ago, with Cardinal Koch clearly at odds with Cardinal Bradmuller here.


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(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!